Book Review: ‘The Nineties,’ by Chuck Klosterman

They are a scammer.

The old saying has existed for a long time “Poltergeist II,” The forgettable 1986 sequel to the memorable 1982 film, now (horror!) applies a decade later, the theme of Chuck Klosterman’s new book, “The Nineties.” Analyzing catchphrases and other popular pop culture quotes, he’s built a solid publishing career.

As an essayist, novelist, and other “-ist” (he wrote an Ethics column for The New York Times), Klosterman is turning his attention away from the fundamentalists. polarizing that, again, fervor – especially in a nominal age. he believes began in earnest, or ironically, with the release of Nirvana’s album “Nevermind” in September 1991. This event of rock ‘n’ roll history to which he compares a car the plane represents the noisy 80s when the autopilot crashed into a mountain. (A metaphor perhaps malicious, as Klosterman thought the ’90s officially ended with the collapse of the Twin Towers.)

Recent times are a source of curiosity, its aesthetics exploited by digital natives who marvel at the freedom of a world where everyone participates and expresses themselves without being haunted by their online darkness. Klosterman writes: “Every new generation tends to be attracted to any generation that has existed for 20 years. This particular look back has a special romance, for as he eloquently writes, “The Internet was born. The Internet has arrived. The Internet has arrived. “But the internet as we know it is not quite there not yet.

The 1990s were the twilight of a millennium and monoculture (as it used to be); the last time we (whoever “we” were) seemed to be on the same page: a page where we could be crippled in our hands. Judging by how things are going so far in the 21st century, this may well be the last time Americans can reasonably carve history into digestible 10-year chunks, a real treat. The economy has been going back at least since the ’90s – the 1890s.

The recent nineties are certainly worth remembering, but for anyone who has lived through them, it can be felt, as they say in the comedy Too Soon.

Credit…Joanna Ceciliani

Klosterman’s simple subtitle, “A Book,” highlights the erosion of the physical world in the years since. He looks at sports, politics, crime, and experiments like Biosphere 2, but he’s primarily interested in the arts and diversity of the decade, delivered through endangered technology . “Nevermind” was released on tape, cassette and compact disc, then pirated on Napster. Remember the phone plugged into the wall and that brief, heart-pounding excitement chasing mysterious callers with *69? The fear of Y2K? How about the fading scrolls that are spit out by fax machines? Rattle, dial-up modem? VCRs? Klosterman did, with measured awe; he admits that the contrast between life then and now can be quite subtle: “gentle differences”.

Now near-extinct, the video rental store, which this reader visually recalls as a sad pit stop filled with plastic, fluorescence, and frustration, is glorified here like a temple. of luck and wisdom, not limited by dove algorithms. The outlet has spawned maverick film directors like Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino, who have highlighted studio systems that are producing prequels like “The Phantom Menace” and nostalgic spoofs of “The Brady Bunch” Movie” – archetype for today factory restart.

Klosterman argues that film in the ’90s, at the height of independent cinema, was the undisputed king, but television, newly recorded and replayable, was everything. ours, Klosterman argued. And none of ours either. He is a true snob, answering a self-made question about cultural diffusion: “(Yes.) (No) (Sometimes.)” Should have been “Must Watch TV”, as “Seinfeld,” the definitive show for nothing, but also spans hours of bland background programming on VH1 and its ilk. (“Here we are now, entertain us,” Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain sings somberly.)

Some of the most important public decisions are influenced by live televised performances, such as James Stockdale statement “Who am I? Why am I here? ” in the 1992 vice-presidential debates, or Clarence Thomas’s emotional rallying prevailed over Anita Hill’s chilling testimony during Thomas’ confirmation hearings in 1991. “Anyway. Anything that goes through the television screen becomes a television program,” Klosterman declared, somewhat one-sidedly. The personal computer is really “a TV you can talk to and a TV you can listen to. A television that knows everything. A television made of man” – or is it a completely different monster? He was wrong that Generation Z couldn’t understand the concept of “album”; on the contrary, they helped promote a strong and recent vinyl revivaland seem to be fascinated by other tactile phenomena that you might expect to disappear forever, like stickers, polaroids, and in fact, video tape.

Klosterman feels more comfortable circling his own generation, X, with flannel shirts and fizzy drinks: “the least important of the classic demographics,” he writes, thanks to his size. its small size (indeed, it is often completely erased in war meme). “However, a commendation can be applied to a conviction. Of the generations that have yet to become extinct, Generation X is still the least offensive.” Yay?

Douglas Coupland, who popularized the label, is still with us, and Klosterman interviews him and several other celebrities from the ’90s. It’s sobering to be reminded of those who aren’t with us. – David Foster Wallace, Elizabeth Wurtzel, Cobain – and depression, despite the relative peace and prosperity at the time, were signs of their output. All in all, one is left with a shivering sense of X’s mediocrity, its preoccupation with what its more politically motivated successors perceive as “luxury micro-concerns.” “. It’s easier to cancel if it hasn’t self-destructed. (Isn’t X the main symbol of cancellation?)

By declaring his cohort the most degenerate and unconcerned, writing nonchalant lines like “times change, because times are so,” wise Klosterman sets the bar low. for this project. Does it delete it? Yes Yes. No, sometimes. Book Review: ‘The Nineties,’ by Chuck Klosterman

Fry Electronics Team

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